Jurich: Up front money key to PJCS expansion

While Tom Jurich said Thursday that expanding Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is a top priority, the University of Louisville's Vice President of Athletics was quick to point out that securing up front funding was key to get the ball rolling on the project. InsideTheVille.com has the latest.

While Tom Jurich said Thursday that expanding Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is a top priority, the University of Louisville's Vice President of Athletics was quick to point out that securing up front funding was key to get the ball rolling on the project.

"The expansion is on the forefront of what we want to get done at this university," Jurich said. "(But) I think we have to find out how much money we can raise up front. We're going to need to raise half of the money for the expansion up front before we can start it."

Plans for the expansion are nearly in place, according to Jurich. Besides increasing the eight year-old facility's seating capacity, the expansion will also include the addition of more luxury boxes and a connecting walkway around the stadium's south end zone.

"We've already got the plans almost finalized," Jurich said. "It'll take the stadium up to about 63,600 and add another 45 skyboxes, so that will give us 75 total. It's a beautiful footprint and it'll have a lot of activity and fun things in the stadium."

Proceeding with caution, and a solid plan, are priorities for Jurich.

"I think (PJCS) is one of the nicest and most unique stadiums in college football," Jurich said. "It's a major project. I want to make sure we do this with caution. And I want to make sure we do it the right way and have a great business plan because frankly I don't want to be in the hole that I was when I got here with this stadium."

Jurich also believes U of L can get the project started simultaneously with plans to build a new 22,000 seat arena that will house the U of L men's and women's basketball programs downtown.

"I think we can," Jurich said. "From our standpoint the basketball arena didn't go on the campus. So our focus should be on the football stadium that will be on the campus."

While Jurich didn't comment on a possible timeline to get the ball rolling on the expansion project, Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino offered this insightful observation.

"Usually any time something has been said by Tom it happens quicker than anybody thinks possible," Petrino said. "We know it's going to happen. It's just a matter of when."

Jurich also didn't have a figure on the expansion's cost, but did admit it won't be cheap.

"I don't know yet," Jurich said. "But it's going to be a hefty number. It's a major, major project."

Jurich said that preservation of the original stadium design, including keeping the north end zone open, would be a major consideration when designs are finalized for the expansion.

"The one thing we want to do is preserve the beauty of the stadium," Jurich said. "That stadium is asthetically as nice as I've ever seen and I want to continue to preserve that, most notably I want to preserve that north end zone."


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